Sunday, 28 December 2014

My 1st Backstage Experience - Day 1 : Mercedes-Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week 2014

I had a subject called 'Introduction to Fashion Design' last semester and one of the assignments was to keep this thing called a 'Personal Journal' where I can write / sketch any crap I want related to fashion design. This was one of my favourite entry in my journal which was my 1st backstage experience!

^ I made the entire cover!
ps, I accidentally tore the bottom left frame and used another pink paper to cover that shit. LOL

Due to my OCD-ness, I have actually typed everything out in Powerpoint before I started writing on the book. So, I can spare you from reading from my scribbles. LOL

I have edited some parts here and made it a lot less formal because this blog is not an assignment. LOL


The Mercedes Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week is the first ever Asia wide collaboration of top emerging designers in the one media event, taking place once a year in each Asian host city. The event is a collaboration of 12 official fashion associations across Asia, with the likes of China, Korea, Japan, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam, showcasing their best designers in one central location. 
(I copied the paragraph above from here : http://mbstyloafw.com/about/)

To summarize, it's basically quite a big deal of a fashion show. If you have watched Project Runway or followed the fashion news, you would know that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York is a big thing and this is the Asia's version.

Thanks to arrangements by INTI and one of our lecturers, Ms. Laura, I have had the privilege to join this event as a backstage volunteer (means I don't get paid at all *sobs*). The fashion week actually ran from 17th to 22nd October 2014 but due to assignments etc., I joined for only 3 days. I chose the Opening Bash (18th), Fitting (19th), & Closing (22nd) so that I can see the entire process of the fashion week. 


Day 1 – Opening Bash (18 Oct 2014)

The opening bash was held in Sultan Lounge, Mandarin Oriental Hotel. 
A handful of people in my class actually signed up for this but in the end, only 2 turned up (surprise, surprise) - Lily and I. Upon our arrival at 7PM, we met Maryam, the volunteer recruiter, and was passed to Jimmy, the backstage manager.

Disclaimer : Due to this is my 1st time in the backstage, I takut nak ambik gambar so please don't expect much. LOL

^ Casbah, a bar area which is connected to the Sultan Lounge. This was basically the backstage. 

^ My first backstage pass!

Our 1st task was to steam iron some clothing. Both of us did not know how... HAHAHAHA! Yes, I do not know how to iron clothes because I'm a spoilt child. (I love you, mom!)
Anyway, no choice so I have to simply be honest and ask for guidance. Honestly, I was expecting some rolling eyeballs but Jimmy patiently taught us how. When we were ironing a blazer by Bon Zainal, the designer himself saw us doing it wrongly at the sleeves part and taught us how. He was very nice and patient as well. (Where's all the bitchy people you see in reality TV?!)

There were 18 looks to be shown that night, 3 looks each from 6 designers. However, there were only 12 models (FYI, it's a normal thing to repeat models for the same show). We get to see how the models were arranged – who wear what, sequence, who has to repeat garment, and more.

^ Finale rehearsal

There were some fittings issues due to some shorts and pants were too tight and a dress was too short but the models would just have to squeeze themselves in those tight shorts and wear leggings for the short dress. (Yes, not just us mortal beings have problems with our tight pants. The short dress would have fitted average people in the correct length though.)

Then, the make up artists and hair stylists worked on the models’ hair. There was a slight drama whereby all models had their make up on except 1, Alina, because one of the make up artist, let’s just call her ABC, thought she wasn’t a model. Alina started questioning ABC things like, “Do I not look like a model? Is there something wrong with my face?” and proceeded to scold things in Russian to her other model friends. Meanwhile, ABC spoke in Mandarin to her other make up artists and put on make up for Alina.  

The event was supposed to start at 10PM but we waited until about 10:30PM for more guests to arrive (Malaysian's timing?). Apparently, it is a norm for an event to start late but not for an event to be scheduled this late at night. While waiting, we sat down with some of the Russian models and one of them had trouble with slippery heels. A simple trick that they did was to stick some adhesive tape with a more rough surface on the base to provide a better grip (Mindblasted! I can't believe that I've never thought of this!).

^ Photo from xojane.com

The models were only asked to start dressing about 15 minutes before the show starts. I assume it was to prevent wrinkles on the garments as the models were not seen to be seated down anymore after they’re dressed. Our role was also to help the models to dress and undress throughout the fashion show. (Yes, we managed to see many half-naked girl models with perfect bums that night.)

Working on backstage really mean you will be on the backstage only. We did not manage to see the runway show AT ALL because we were busy helping the models.

All the photos below were taken from smallnhot.com.

^ One of my favourites of the night by Khoon Hooi

^ Alina wearing Radzuan Radzwill’s design

Fairuz Ramdan’s design, with a legging

After the finale walk and most models have already taken off their garments, there was a sudden announcement that the models have to change back their clothes for some photo op session. Jimmy threw a fit (and rightly so) because the announcements were so last minute and it was unfair for the models. Nevertheless, the models did it anyway.  

When everything was finally done, we have to arrange the garments on the correct hangers and vacuum bags given by the designers and wait for them to collect it, unscrew the racks, pack the additional hangers, and call it a night. We left at about 12:30AM.

(Day 2 & Day 3 to be continued)


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